Skip to content

Services

Who?

Your baby and every baby born in Alaska.

What?

Testing for some uncommon disorders in body chemistry. Alaska currently screens for 53 conditions, please visit Baby's First Test for more information.

When?

At 24 hours of life.

How?

A small amount of blood is taken from the infant's heel and sent to the testing lab out of state.

Why?

Alaska’s newborn bloodspot screening program screens all Alaskan infants for inherited and congenital conditions that may not be obvious at birth but could cause disability or death if not treated.

Alaska Law (sec.18.15.200) requires that all babies born in Alaska receive screening tests for conditions that can result in intellectual disability and/or other serious health problems. Blood samples for testing must be collected before discharge from the hospital or birthing facility. For infants born “out of hospital”, the person responsible for registering the birth of the child also is responsible for assuring that the proper specimen is collected and received by the lab no later than the fifth day of life.

Parents have the right to refuse the screening tests for their newborn infant if this testing conflicts with their religious practices or beliefs. If this is true for you, be sure to tell the hospital staff and your doctor as soon as possible; they will have you sign an “informed dissent”.

Follow Up

The newborn screening team consists of local health care providers including Alaska hospitals, physicians and midwives who collect blood samples after birth, and the WCFH program manager. Since there are no laboratories or metabolic specialists in Alaska who provide specialized services for newborn screening, these services are provided through a contract with the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa. Staff from ISHL and the program manager monitor test results to ensure that screening is satisfactorily completed. Infants with abnormal test results are referred for additional testing.

Infants and children with positive test results are referred to the Metabolic Clinic in Anchorage or Fairbanks for treatment management. Staffing for the Metabolic Clinic includes a metabolic specialist and a metabolic nutritionist. Medical consultation is provided to the local physician caring for the infant or child. Treatment for metabolic diseases is life long. The Newborn Screening Advisory Committee, composed of local physicians, laboratory personnel, family members of affected children, midwives and nurse practitioners, provides recommendations for program planning and evaluation.

​​​​